The All Ceylon Medical Officers’ Association (ACMOA) urged the Government to resolve the increasing shortage of drugs which was affecting even the dialysis of patients with renal disease.
Vice President of the ACMOA, Dr. Nishantha Samaraweera yesterday (19) said hospitals with large patient turnout felt the impact of the shortage of drugs more acutely. Hospitals are forced into strict management of the drugs they have to the extent that they have to curtail the number of patients being treated for certain serious illnesses like renal disease. There is a shortage of medicinal drugs and medical supplies, he said. Some of the drugs like Heparin an anticoagulant drug used during haemodialysis treatment and Mannitol used in treating accident patients with brain injury were in short supply.
In addition, there was only 10 to 20 per cent antibiotics available in hospitals. So, doctors are in a dilemma when prescribing drugs to patients. “If the antibiotic course was for 14 days, hospitals only have the particular antibiotic for nine or ten days,” he said. In addition there were shortages in nasogastric tube (NG tube- carries food and medicine to the stomach through the nose), and several consumable items used during surgical intervention, reagents for full blood count testing so much so that the number of tests required have to be limited, he said.
The situation is such that surgeons and theatre staff lack even hand sanitiser for scrubbing before surgery. They have to depend on soap and water. The ACMOA Vice President said that the cost of medicines and medical supplies was such that it was difficult to ask them to purchase the required item from the private sector. He noted that his outfit had asked the Health Minister on several occasions for a meeting to discuss the issue. Hospitals are doing all things possible to manage the available drugs- but the Ministry cannot expect hospitals to manage the situation and be happy about the outcome, he said.
Meanwhile, Health Minister Keheliya Rambukwella during a meeting with Pakistani High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Shahzad Chaudhary said that all the groups in the health sector were “managing the drug situation in the country.” He said that by the coming month it would be possible to solve some of those drug related problems.
The Pakistan High Commission in Sri Lanka presented a stock of medicines worth Rs 10 million for kidney patients to the Ministry of Health yesterday (19) through the Pakistan-Sri Lanka Friendship Forum. The Medicines were donated by CCL Pharmaceuticals, he added.
By Dilanthi Jayamanne